February 9, 2016
By Holly K. Sonneland
As all eyes turn toward New Hampshire in today’s presidential primary elections, there’s one thing you probably won’t see: Latino voters. The state is the fourth whitest in the United States per the Census Bureau, ranking just above Iowa, where Latinos represented just 3 percent of voters in that state’s February 1 caucuses.
So where will the Latino vote wield the most influence? In the swing states of Nevada, Colorado, and Florida, say experts. These three states have primaries in the first month and a half of the primary season. Nevada, where a combined 73 Republican and Democratic delegates will be up for grabs, holds caucuses on February 20 and 23, while Coloradans (116 delegates) caucus on Super Tuesday, March 1. From 2002 to 2014, Latino voter registration went up 57 percent nationally; it jumped 191 percent in Nevada and 75 percent in Colorado. Florida votes on March 15.
Texas, which has largest number of delegates up for grabs in the next month, hasn’t picked a Democrat for president since Jimmy Carter’s 1976 win. But the Latino vote could be decisive for Republicans in the primary on Super Tuesday, given that white voters are split. In states where every vote counts, operations are underway to up the number of registered Latino voters.
Below, we take a look at the share of the Latino population in each state with a primary or caucus through March 1, compared to the number of Republican and Democratic delegates up for grabs in those races.
What role do Latino voters play through the Super Tuesday primaries?
While one in 10 eligible voters in the United States is Latino, the bloc's influence makes the biggest difference in the swing states of Nevada and Colorado, where the Latino population is 60 and 22 percent higher, respectively, than the rest of the country. Texas is not a swing state, but the Latino vote could be influential in the primary, given that white voters are split among Republican candidates.
Source: Americas Society / Council of the Americas